– Los Angeles radio host John Ireland said on the air Monday that a reliable source of his says the Nets will execute a trade for Magic’ F Dwight Howard on Tuesday. Ireland says that his source correctly reported LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami last year. If true, F Brook Lopez will almost surely be moved out. Stay tuned.
– G Baron Davis has committed to signing a 1-year/$2.5M contract with the Knicks, and a deal could become official on Sunday. There has been mutual interest between Davis and the Knicks since he was waived by Cleveland. His back injury is a big question mark, but recent reports have him either returning in about 2-4 weeks if he opts for therapy, or eight weeks if he needs surgery.
– F Peja Stojakovic, 34, has announced his retirement from the NBA. He says he is going out on a “championship high” after his back and banged up body let him know it was time to shut it down.
– F Chuck Hayes (heart) has failed his physical exam for the Kings and had his 4-year/$21M contract voided. This means he’s a free agent once again, although his career is in jeopardy after an abnormality was revealed in his heart test.
– Grizzlies’ F Darrell Arthur (Achilles tendon) is believed to have torn his Achilles tendon and is expected to miss the entire 2011-12 season. If the report is correct, Arthur will require surgery and wouldn’t be ready to resume playing for about a year, and wouldn’t be full strength for even longer.
– Bobcats’ F Bismack Biyombo has reached a buyout with his Spanish team Fuenlabrada for approximately $1.3M, freeing him to play for his NBA club this season. Biyombo is a rock defensively, but leaves a lot to be desired offensively. The team is thin up front, so he should see lots of time off the bench.
– The Nuggets signed RFA G Arron Afflalo to a 5-year/$43M deal on Monday. He should continue to improve upon his breakout campaign last season.
– F Andrei Kirilenko is reportedly leaving CSKA Moscow to sign a multi-year contract with the Nets, though his agent denies there have been any negotiations. The two sides are expected to agree to a deal shortly. He broke his nose in a nasty fall last month but has since recovered, and should be ready to play upon arriving in New Jersey. He’s expected to start at small forward.
– The Indiana Pacers will trade G Brandon Rush to the Warriors for F Louis Amundson. Rush averaged 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in three seasons for the Pacers. He was considered a core player, but is now expendable. Amundson has averaged 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in five seasons, primarily with Philadelphia, Phoenix and Golden State. He shoots 52 per cent from the field for his career.
– The Wizards have re-signed G Nick Young to a 1-year contract. Young led Washington in scoring last season with a career-high 17.4 points per game, more than doubling his average from the 2009-10 season.
– The Kings have claimed F Travis Outlaw off waivers from the Nets. Outlaw averaged 9.2 points and four rebounds in 28 minutes per game last season, making 55 starts.
– The Bobcats have acquired F Byron Mullens from the Thunder in exchange for a 2013 second-round draft pick. Mullens was selected by the Mavericks with the 24th pick in the 2009 draft but was promptly sent to the Thunder. He’s played in only 26 games over the past two seasons while averaging 1.5 points and 5.3 minutes.
– Former NHL F Peter Forsberg sat down with Swedish television station SVT on Sunday. Foppa acknowledged that Team Sweden didn’t play to their full effort and hoped that would be enough to lose the game and avoid Canada and Russia in the quarterfinal and the semifinal Sweden met Switzerland instead of Canada in the quarterfinal as a result.
“And then we had a little throw game. Well throw game or throw game. If we beat Slovakia we would face tougher opponents during the playoffs.”
“I couldn’t see any reason to win that game. Absolutly none. It was our last big chance to win the Olympics. And then to go out and fight and risk getting injured and try to win just to recieve tougher opponents in the quarterfinals and semifinals… I saw no reason to do that.”
“It wasn’t the coach’s decision that we should lose. But maybe we discussed it in our group that it probably would be better if we didn’t play that hard..”
– Former Canadiens and Hall of Fame G Patrick Roy told reporters on Sunday that he would consider any proposal that’s brought to his attention at the end of the season. Roy was rumoured to be a replacement for the recently-departed Jacques Martin.
“Once the end of the season arrives and if a team shows some interest in me – Colorado or Montreal for example – it’s certain I would listen to see what kind of role I would have in the organization. So to respond to your question, yes – it is certain I would listen if the Canadiens called.”
“I’m extremely flattered by the public’s reaction. Ever since my jersey retirement (in 2008), I’ve had a closer relationship with the fans and the Canadiens organization. When you see people continue to push for my candidacy, it’s very flattering. It also encourages me because in some way it makes me realize that what we’re doing with the Remparts is being recognized by admirers.”
“Honestly, if I was appproached one day, it’s the type of discussion I would like to keep quiet,” Roy continued. “I’m at a period in my life where I’m analyzing every situation that presents itself to me.”
Roy also commented on having an anglophone head coach guiding the Canadiens.
“It’s a very delicate question. I understand in one way that the Canadiens organization have given assistant coach positions to anglophones. I’m convinced it’s a question that must annoy the organization. But sometimes we have no control of what happens. I imagine that Pierre Gauthier believes that the best person to replace Jacques Martin was a person internally. For the fans, it’s not easy to accept. But they must have confidence in the organization.”
Roy is currently the coach, GM and part-owner of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.
– Sharks’ D Dan Boyle (foot) broke his foot on November 10, but he managed to play through the injury. This might explain why he had no points from November 12-December 3. He now has four points in his last four games, so he could be fully healed.
“I wasn’t thinking the other night when Jamie asked me. It was definitely a problem for awhile but it’s behind me now, hopefully,” Boyle said.
“No, no, no. It was just one of those things. You can kind of play your way through it,” he said. “It definitely hurt my game a little bit.
“My game is skating and I was definitely a step behind for many of those games and a little slower out there. I didn’t have the energy to get into every play,” he said. “It’s a factor. I don’t want to sit here and make excuses.”
“I’m hurting the team? Everybody plays with injuries. I’m not just the only one. You have to find a way,” he said. “If we all sat out because we had some sort of an injury, there wouldn’t be too many guys getting dressed.
“It was just one of those things. I had to fight my way through it. I’m not the only one playing with an injury. It was what it was and now it’s in the past.”
– The NHL has suspended Bruins’ F Milan Lucic has been suspended for 1 game as punishment for his hit on Islanders’ F Zac Rinaldo. This was Lucic’s second hearing of the season.
– The NHL has suspended Flames’ F Rene Bourque 2 games for his hit from behind on Blackhawks’ D Brent Seabrook on Sunday. He’ll be eligible to return on December 23.
– Flyers’ F Claude Giroux (concussion) skated for about 90 minutes on Monday. Giroux also participated in Sunday’s practice with a no-contact jersey. Giroux was only out for about a week before he resumed skating. It remains to be seen if he will be able to participate in the 2012 Winter Classic on January 2.
– Leafs’ F Colby Armstrong (concussion) has been diagnosed with a concussion. Head coach Ron Wilson revealed after Monday’s game that Armstrong suffered a concussion on Saturday when he collided with Canucks’ F Ryan Kesler. Armstrong was suffering from the variety of concussion symptoms on Sunday, notifying the team’s medical staff on Monday afternoon when the symptoms continued.
– Rangers’ D Marc Staal (concussion) skated with the team Tuesday morning, wearing a no-contact jersey. Staal has not played this season after experiencing symptoms working out this summer. “I decided to jump on the ice for the morning skate for a little bit. I wanted to get involved a little bit. The workouts have gone well. I’m progressing pretty well. The next step was to jump on the ice with the guys. I skated just as hard on my own, but today I did some drills. It was nice.”
– Rangers’ F Wojtek Wolski (sports hernia) is expected to be back in a “7-10 days,” according to head coach John Tortorella. Wolski has been limited to just six games this season.
– The Brewers will host a workout for OF Norichika Aoki in Arizona before opening contract talks. The Brewers were awarded exclusive negotiating rights to the Japanese import this weekend with a $2.5M posting fee. Aoki is a .329 lifetime hitter in Nippon Professional Baseball and is a strong defensive player.
– FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the D’Backs have signed OF Jason Kubel to a 2-year/$15M contract with an option for 2014. Kubel batted .273/.332/.434 with 12 homers and 58 RBI over 401 plate appearances in 2011 for the Twins. He’s expected to start in left field.
– ESPN’s Buster Olney spoke with a source Monday who suggested that the Rangers might have won exclusive negotiating rights to Japanese RHP Yu Darvish. The Jays were reportedly the highest bidder, but that no longer appears to be the case. Darvish, 25, posted a sparkling 1.44 ERA and 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings this past season in Japan. The Nippon-Ham Fighters are expected to make an announcement on his probable landing spot Monday night.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Nationals are “pushing hard” to acquire LHP Gio Gonzalez from the A’s in a 4-for-1 deal, similar to how the Reds acquired RHP Mat Latos from the Padres. It’s not yet known which players are being discussed from Washington’s side. Gonzalez, 26, has drawn interest from the Rangers, Red Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays, Royals and Tigers, among others.
– The Phillies have officially re-signed SS Jimmy Rollins to a 3-year/$38M contract with a vesting option for 2015. Rollins is set to earn $33M over the next three seasons. If the $11M option for 2015 does not vest, it becomes an $8M club option or a $5M player option. Rollins originally hoped to find a 5-year contract this offseason, but no one was interested in giving him that much. He’s regressed statistically over the past few seasons. If he can remain healthy, Rollins has a chance to pass Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt as the team’s all-time hit leader.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com was told that Angels’ OF Bobby Abreu would welcome a trade. With the Angels’ acquisition of 1B Albert Pujols, the team has a massive logjam at first base, DH and outfield. Rosenthal suspects they’ll wait to see how 1B Kendrys Morales’ (ankle/leg) recovery comes along before trying for a trade. Abreu, 38 in January, is set to earn $9M next season before hitting free agency. With his production slip over the past few seasons, the Angels will need to eat some salary if they want to move him. Rosenthal notes that Abreu is not the type to demand a trade.
– According to Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports, the Cardinals are in discussions to sign free agent OF Coco Crisp. Crisp would play center field and bat leadoff while OF Jon Jay would move over to right field until OF Allen Craig (knee) is ready to return from knee surgery. The Cardinals also have interest in OF Carlos Beltran. The 33-year-old batted .264/.314/.379 with eight homers, 54 RBI, 49 stolen bases and a .693 OPS this past season with Oakland.
– According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals have reached a deal with OF Mike Cameron on a minor-league deal. Cameron was said to be engaging in “serious talks” with the Indians over the weekend. Cameron, 38, batted .203/.285/.359 with nine home runs and 27 RBI over 269 plate appearances this past year between Boston and Miami. He has a chance to be a backup outfielder.
– Cardinals’ OF Allen Craig (right knee surgery) said Saturday that he could be ready for action around Opening Day. Craig, 27, underwent a procedure on his knee in late November and was given a 4-6 month recovery timetable by the Cardinals. “I think the organization always has to plan for the worst and the worst case was 6 months. But I asked the doctor directly, when he thought I’d be playing and he said in 4-to-5 months I should be playing, which is right around Opening Day.” Craig had a .917 OPS in 219 plate appearances this past year for the World Series champs.
– The Mets have officially signed RHP Frank Francisco to a 2-year/$12M contract. Francisco is slotted to become the new team closer. The 32-year-old posted a 3.55 ERA and 53/18 K/BB ratio over 50 2/3 innings this past season for the Blue Jays. He recorded 17 saves in 21 chances.
– Bears’ WR Johnny Knox (back) underwent surgery Monday to stabilize a vertebra in his back and will miss 3-4 months. Knox was carried off after folding backwards on a gruesome tackle for a loose ball. The early prognosis on his career and quality of life is positive despite the scary injury. Knox’s third season ends with 37 catches for 727 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. Head coach Lovie Smith said, ”Looking to the future, it looks bright for him, of course, to play and to get back out there.” Knox should be ready for training camp in a contract year.
– The Buccaneers have placed CB Aqib Talib (hamstring) on the IR, ending his season. Talib aggravated the injury in the first quarter versus the Cowboys. He finishes with 34 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games. Talib could start the season on suspension, depending on the result of his scheduled March 2012 trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
– Former WWE superstar Batista tweeted the following about Daniel Bryan’s World Heavyweight title win on Sunday night:
“excuse me! did i hear that right? Daniel Bryan World Heavyweight Champ. ummmmmmm…..ok.”
After Batista’s tweet set off a firestorm of responses from people calling him a hater for apparently not sounding pleased with WWE’s decision to put the World title on Bryan, he replied:
“man did that comment bring the tough guy haters out. well i’m at Gracie Fighter Tampa daily. 6333 s. dale mabry hwy Tampa FL. stop on by”
Shortly thereafter, Batista followed up with the following statement, explaining his relationship with Daniel Bryan and why tweets from haters mean nothing to him:
“so to clear up any misunderstanding about me hating on Daniel Bryan…actually i’ve been a supporter of his for years,unlike most of you Johnny come lately smart mark supporters. we actually had a hell of a match together that was originally supposed to be a squash match until this old broken down ex bodybuilder who never deserved to be champion and only had it handed to me because HHH was my boy…refused to job the kid out because i knew how good he was and wanted to have a f*cking match with him before i left the company. and a hell of a match we had considering where our respective places in the company were at the time. so yes im aware of all of his accomplishments and hard work through out the years and i’m thrilled to death for him….but still…World Heavyweight champ???ummmmmmm…ok. opinions are like *ssholes. my Twitter account,my opinion. and to all the b*tch ass haters who just dogged me out and b*tched about how horrible i was…..i’ve worked with HHH, the Undertaker,Rey Mysterio,Randy Orton Stone Cold,Edge,John Cena,Chris Benoit,Ric F*cking Flair!!etc.etc.. and they all respected me and my work. Eddie Guerrero respected my work. so don’t expect your little bullsh*t remarks to actually carry any weight. in your b*tch ass faces!! “
– WWE Champion CM Punk just tweeted the following picture of himself with new World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan. He included the caption:
“Two Indy schmucks didn’t do so bad, Eh?”
Bryan also commented on the photo, saying:
“It’s strange…Six years ago CM Punk and I wrestled a 45 minute match in Florida in front of probably 36 people. It’s fun watching us pretend to be superstars when we’re really just a couple of Indy schmucks.”
Punk also issued a statement on Twitter last night after TLC congratulating WWE’s young superstars on a historic night. Punk, who has been saying for months that he wanted to bring about change in WWE and pave the way for new talent to break through – and he’s proud that change has finally begun:
“Very proud right now. Proud of @WWEDanielBryan proud of @ZackRyder proud of my crew of young, talented hard workers. @findevan @TrueKofi …and a ton of others. Tonight was a great step toward the future of the wrestling business. That change I’ve been talking about? Started.”
Punk says he’s got his sights set on WrestleMania 28 – and he’s not waiting for the Royal Rumble to begin his “march to WrestleMania.”
“My march to Wrestlemania doesn’t begin after the rumble. It’s starts today. You’re in or you’re out. If you’re out, you’ll be left behind.”
Former WWE creative team member Seth Mates, however, says if history is any indication, we shouldn’t expect a long title reign from new World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan. Mates tweeted on Monday afternoon @SethMates:
“To borrow a holiday metaphor, this is the time of year (between Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble) when Vince (McMahon) ‘tries on’ his new clothes or new main eventers.”
“Foley (99), Jericho (01), Evolution (03), Edge (06), Sheamus (09), Miz (10), Bryan (11) among those elevated during this stretch of (the year). And to continue with the bad holiday metaphor, Vince has (until) Royal Rumble undercard to return them if they don’t fit just right. Also, Jeff Hardy in ’08 – almost forgot him.”
“So don’t be surprised if Bryan loses the title at (Royal Rumble). Not a dealbreaker…just Vince’s history with change.”
The reason why WWE decided to take the World Heavyweight title off Mark Henry at Sunday’s TLC PPV is because Mark Henry is legitimately hurt. Henry suffered what’s being described as a pulled groin, which he reportedly suffered during his match against John Cena on Raw last week. After having the injury evaluated, it turned out to be more serious than originally thought. The majority of WWE’s creative team wanted Henry to work a lighter schedule until the injury healed up, however Vince McMahon made the call to end Mark Henry’s title run months earlier than originally planned. After Henry suffered his groin injury during his match with John Cena on RAW last week and the call was made for Henry to drop the title to Big Show and for Bryan to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Since Daniel Bryan’s title win was a decision that was made only days ago, it remains to be seen what WWE has planned for the World Heavyweight title in the early months of 2012.
– Shawn Michaels and William Regal, who both trained Daniel Bryan early in his wrestling career, commented on Bryan’s World Heavyweight title win at TLC last night.
HBK: “Obviously a big congratulations is due to Daniel Bryan. I couldn’t be happier for him. Awesome young man whose bright future has started!!”
Regal: “I’m very happy for Daniel Bryan.Well deserved.A truly world class Pro Wrestler and now World Champion.”
Gabe Sapolsky: “I think a boundary was broken last night by two remarkable athletes and people. This just validates that the best talent and the new generation of stars can come from the independent wrestling scene. I believe we have today’s new stars in Dragon Gate USA and Evolve. the new Punks and Bryans are at the top of their game in each promotion.” Give it a shot and enjoy the ride to the top of WWE. Congrats to Punk and Bryan. they both deserve this and worked hard for it.”
Bryan’s former home, Ring of Honor, also congratulated their former champion:
“We at Ring of Honor Wrestling congratulate Bryan Danielson on winning the World Heavyweight title. #watchroh RT”
– Skip Sheffield, who has been on the sideline for almost a year and is expected to return to WWE soon, tweeted several cryptic messages over the weekend. Sheffield hinted that he could be the man behind the recent “It Begins” videos and could be returning as his “Ryback” Terminator character.
“Sitting in a chair at a table in Sin City wondering why this ladder is in front of me? Laughing at the gossip, the Secret Power, it begins..
Who am I? Only time will tell, but rest assured narkboys Im not a Terminator sent to save John Connor. I also hate College Station #Fake
I refuse to type it yyywid is fake, accept n forget. My life my rules. Born n raised in Sin City, soon a psycho will be unleashed. #Patience”
It’s worth noting that back in October, it was reported that WWE applied to register a new trademarks for the name “Ryback.”
– According to a source close to Kevin Nash, his match with Triple H at TLC will most likely be his farewell retirement match. While it’s always possible he could lace up his boots again in the future, he was giving people the impression backstage that TLC was his last match. Nash tweeted after TLC:
“Thanks Paul,nice to end it with someone I love.”
- The WWE website has a storyline update on Nash’s character following his Sledgehammer Ladder match with Triple H at Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view. As per the angle, Nash was “rushed to a near medical facility” with a nasal fracture and “multiple contusions.” WWE physician Chris Amann is quoted in the article and states that Nash will be out for up to 6 weeks.
– WWE began selling their first anti-John Cena merchandise at this weekend’s live events. Two pictures, one of a “CENA SUCKS” and another of “We Can’t See You” with a picture of John Cena’s face X’d out, have surfaced. Check out these pictures of WWE’s new anti-Cena t-shirts:
Cena has been responding to tweets about the new merchandise and revealed that WWE has wanted to capitalize on Cena haters for many years now:
“They have wanted too since 2008. I told them no. Finally I just said I dont care. Im fine with the way things are. Some like me. Some don’t.”
A fan asked Cena if WWE was disrespecting him by profiting off people taunting him. Cena said:
“Agreed. But WTF. Ignore it no longer. Its out there so those that wanna be like that should be able to voice their opinion. Like I said doesn’t change me one bit. Stay true..always have.. always will”
Another fan asked Cena when WWE was going to release anti-Rock shirts. Cena says there’s a double standard and we’ll never see merchandise disrespecting his WrestleMania 28 opponent:
“I can tell u right now….that would never happen”
– Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez got a ton of respect backstage at TLC for the insane bump he took off the top of a ladder through a table outside the ring. Mick Foley, known for taking a bump or two in his day, commented on the impressive stunt:
“Hope @RRWWE is feeling ok today..for real. Ricardo, that was one HECK of a bump, my friend! Worried about that mustard stain on the tux, too.”
– John Cena was backstage at WWE’s TLC pay-per-view, but did not appear on television. It was decided by WWE’s creative team that it would be best to give Cena the night off and put the focus on Punk, Daniel Bryan and others.
– Everybody was very happy with the Triple Threat main event. Despite each men taking huge bumps during the match, CM Punk, The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez were all ok after the match, but were understandably banged up.
– Divas champion Beth Phoenix mentioned Kharma in a tweet last night after TLC. Phoenix wrote:
“I’m not afraid of anyone or anything. I don’t believe in Kharma. I believe in me, myself, and I.”
Natalya has since chimed in with the following:
“@TheBethPhoenix … Not even @kharma can break us. Pinup strong forever.”
– After Sunday’s WWE TLC pay-per-view went off the air, CM Punk continued to celebrate by thrusting his arm into the air from atop the ladder to keep the crowd going. He then took a leisurely lap around ringside to interact with fans. When Punk passed Lillian Garcia, he applied the open end of his handcuff to her arm (much to her surprise it seemed) and with a huge smile on his face led her into the back. She seemed slightly embarrassed, but amused.
– The New York Times has an article up today featuring NBC Universal executive Bonnie Hammer. The report features several quotes from WWE CEO Vince McMahon. When Vince was asked about working alongside Hammer, he said:
“She just came in and rolled up her sleeves. She taught us a lot about network quality writing, story arcs, character development. She really helped the overall brand.”
Hammer told The Times that she thought WWE should be a male soap opera and decided that a heavy sports emphasis of WWE’s programming limited its audience.